The latest State of the World’s Birds report paints the most concerning picture yet of the future of avian species and, by extension, all life on Earth. Nearly half of all bird species were found to be in decline, with many populations severely depleted. One in eight bird species is currently threatened with extinction.
An excursion to a nature reserve offers sun, fun, well-being, and a sense of responsibility towards the environment. Many tourists say this when asked how they would sum up their day at Cousin Island Special Reserve. They also mention seeing wildlife they've never seen before and enjoying Mother Nature's beauty. It is also a chance to get some fresh air and vitamin D. There's no doubt that a visit to a nature reserve is one of the top things to do in Seychelles. This World Tourism Day, celebrated every 27 September, let's remind ourselves why nature reserves are a must-see for everyone.
The urge to explore is innate in us
The opportunity to see unique wildlife
Visiting nature reserves gives one a sense of how abundant and diverse our biodiversity really is. Our island ecosystems are home to everything from giant tortoises to tiny land crabs, from birds to birds to lizards, and everything in between. Nature Reserves sustain most of this biodiversity, which makes them a must for wildlife enthusiasts. Several of our visitors enjoy watching birds, and some will go to Cousin just to tick off a bird on their list. Others want to experience watching a turtle nesting once in their lifetime, while others want to soak in the sights and sounds of a tropical forest.
Exploring new territory
The urge to explore is innate in us. Before modern technology took over our lives, we spent most of our time exploring the outdoors. It is easy to forget that humans used to be wild too not so long ago! A trip to a nature reserve makes one feel like an intrepid explorer, whether you are hiking to see a stunning view you've never seen before or diving to discover an underwater world you didn't know existed.
A trip to a nature reserve will make you feel like an intrepid explorer
Learn new things
When we visit nature reserves, we have the chance to experience something different from what we see in our daily lives. On Cousin Island, our skilled wardens provide a guided tour and information on the attractions and ecotourism's contribution to conservation and environmental sustainability practices on the island.
Inspire you to protect nature
When you visit a nature reserve like Cousin Island, you will get to see the birds and other animals up close in their natural environment. You will realize that they deserve our protection. "It taught me ethical behaviour towards wildlife. We were given strict instructions to avoid walking on crabs and other biodiversity and not to approach the birds for no reason," said a visitor. Moreover, most of the revenues received from visits are ploughed back into conservation, ensuring that such reserves continue to exist for future generations to enjoy.
Our skilled wardens provide a guided tour and information
It has been said that we are more stressed than ever before nowadays. Our eyes and minds are glued to electronics 24/7, and we easily forget that another world exists outside these. Visiting nature reserves is a great way to unplug and leave our busyness behind. In nature, it is possible to practice mindfulness and be genuinely present in the moment. Studies have shown that immersion in nature can boost one's mood, alleviate stress and improve overall mental health.
Not all heroes wear capes. Our staff on Cousin Island decked out only in t-shirts and shorts, and often barefooted, certainly fit this adage. They keep to a grueling schedule, ushering visitors onto the reserve for the island's widely acclaimed ecotourism program in the morning, and working on varied conservation activities in the afternoon.
The sunrise is exquisite, the forest lush. The wind is gusty and the sea is choppy. Tropicbirds squawk, fodys chirrup, while skinks scuttle. The tortoises are languid, the mosquitoes, ferocious. The wardens are skilled and the tourists are eager. The sunsets are pink-sky-filled with dusty grey clouds. The nights were moonlit. This is how Sally, a volunteer, vividly described her one month on Cousin Island Special Reserve.
Our Chief Executive Dr. Nirmal Shah is in Cambridge UK for the BirdLife100 World Congress, which is from 11-16 September. BirdLife celebrates its centennial this year. The congress brings together the global BirdLife partnership, which currently works in 115 countries.